In this podcast episode, which you can listen to on our Podbean page, the hosts National Extension College’s CEO Esther Chesterman and Samreen Shah invite Karyn Nash, the NEC’s Pastoral Officer, to discuss ADHD in the classroom. Karyn explains her role in helping students with additional challenges such as ADHD, autism, anxiety, and learning differences. She shares her own experience of being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 53, despite having a high IQ and excelling in primary school. Karyn describes how ADHD can manifest in different ways, making it difficult for teachers to identify and support students with the condition.

The conversation moves on to how teachers can support students with ADHD. Karyn emphasises that teachers need to be aware of ADHD and its symptoms, as well as the potential impact on learning. She advises that teachers should try to create a structured and organised environment, with clear expectations and routines. Karyn also recommends that teachers provide opportunities for movement and sensory input, as well as strategies to help students with executive function difficulties, such as breaking down tasks into smaller steps.

The hosts ask Karyn about her own experiences in the classroom and how teachers can best support students with ADHD. Karyn recalls feeling disempowered and frustrated in secondary school, where she struggled to keep up with the demands of exam courses. She highlights the importance of understanding that students with ADHD can experience rejection-sensitive dysphoria, a condition where they feel intense negative emotions in response to perceived rejection or criticism. Karyn also discusses the impact of low self-esteem and the feeling of not being good enough, which can lead to disengagement and withdrawal from learning.

The conversation moves on to how parents can support their children with ADHD. Karyn advises parents to be patient and empathetic, to help their children develop strategies for coping with their condition. She also recommends that parents work closely with teachers to create a consistent approach to supporting their child’s learning. Karyn stresses that it is important to focus on the child’s strengths and interests, rather than their weaknesses.

The hosts and Karyn discuss the potential benefits of technology in supporting students with ADHD. Karyn explains how technology can be used to help students with executive function difficulties, such as organising their work and managing their time. She also highlights the importance of using technology in a purposeful and targeted way, rather than relying on it as a substitute for human interaction.

In conclusion, this podcast episode provides valuable insights into ADHD in the classroom, drawing on Karyn’s personal experience as well as her professional expertise. The hosts and Karyn emphasise the importance of understanding ADHD and its impact on learning and provide practical strategies for supporting students with the condition. The conversation highlights the need for a collaborative approach, involving teachers, parents, and students, to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all.

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